Saturday, February 16, 2013

More Bangkok

On the afternoon of Thursday the 14th, William went out on his own to run some errands. He got his glasses repaired at an optical shop next door and found a Chinese man who has a street shop to repair his shoes.
Later we went to dinner at the hotel restaurant. We had the Valentine's Day dinner. Lots of food so we brought about 1/2 back and had it Friday night as this room has a kitchenette.
Thai soups are great, just don't eat the herbs and spices, chunks of ginger, lemon grass, chili peppers, and some hard green leaf. Eat the shrimp and mushrooms and the great broth.  You can catch a glimpse of my Valentine's Day necklace courtesy of our tuk tuk shopping trip, a red sapphire on the chain from Jasmine.
Friday the 15th, we get an earlier start and find less traffic.  Our first stop is the Grand Palace.  A truly impressive sight.  Lots of buildings with distinctive Siamese curled rooftop edges and temple hat-like roofs. The buildings are decorated with gold leaf and mirrored and colored glass chips.  In the temple of the emerald Buddha, we see the 45 cm green jade Buddha perched high up on a throne clothed in gold cloth and a gold head piece.  You can see the little green face.  No shoes, no hat, sit down with your feet pointing away from the Buddha if you are not at the back and no photos.
Giant figures guard the buildings.

 This building was decorated in colored tiles. Other small decorative edifices were also covered with colored tiles in flower designs. We could not figure out what they were. 
A model of Angor Wat
This is a huge place and the day grows hotter. We stop for an ice cream.
William and a motionless guard.
The gardens are carefully tended. We see coronation rooms, throne rooms and places where a dead king's body would lie in state.
 All around the courtyard is a mural of the legend of Ramayana. It involves lots of battles with demons and is an extremely long epic. It is huge in India and apparently big here too.  The multiple arms are the artists way of showing motion.  All this is recently restored.
Restoration is going on constantly.
On to the temple of the Reclining Buddha, Wat Pho. 46m long and 15m high and covered with gold leaf except for the soles of his feet which are mother of pearl inlaid scenes.
 There are 4 other Buddha sanctuaries with gilded Buddhas and 304 gilded Buddhas is the galleries.

We are about Buddhaed out so we grab a bite to eat, then head for the "bus" boat. We wait and wait for the big boat with the orange flag going down the river.  The ones with the blue flag are hop on/hop off tourist boats and the smaller boats are like tuk tuks or taxis.
Finally one comes and we cram on like sardines.
This is a picture after a lot of people got off.  We are crammed standing up in the yellow loading area where it says no standing, but there is no where else to go. The tiny little ticket lady manages to get around to everyone and collect 20 bahts each (60 cents). We take a taxi to the hotel from the N1 Oriental stop.  One thing we find is that taxi and tuk tuk rates go up with the temperature.  Taxi drivers want large flat rates rather than metered rates and tuk tuk drivers may refuse to take you at all if you don't want to make shopping stops.

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